Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On Writing & Flying

As I considered what to write for this Ides of Writing post, my mind felt like it was full of jumping beans: Ego! Perfectionism! Fear! Jealousy! 

The writing path is riddled with potholes and washed-out bridges and fallen trees, that's for sure. But the Sinkhole of All for me seems to be the propensity I have for wandering around in the labyrinth of my mind -- without my heart. Thinking too much, abandoning my heart. I get caught up in craft: how to write great dialogue, narrative arcs, character development. The mechanics of flying instead of just flying.

And I know why it happens, I do. It's easier to focus on mechanics. It's safer. Those Ego! Perfectionism! Fear! Jealousy! jumping beans, they can take a nap when I focus on mechanics.

But what I want to create is art. And Holy Synchronicity, I found the perfect passage to describe what I'm talking about in Jandy Nelson's gorgeous book I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN:

“Listen, it is not the charcoal that draws the picture. It is you. It is your hand, which is attached to your body, and in that body is a beating heart, okay. You are not ready for this.” He takes the stick of charcoal out of my hand and throws I onto the floor. “Draw him without it. Use only your hand. See it, feel it, draw it. All one thing, not three things. Don't take your eyes off of him. See, feel, draw. One verb, go now. Do not think. Above all else: Do not think so much. Picasso, he say, 'If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.' Pull out your brain, CJ, use only your eyes!”

All one thing, not three things. Do not think. Use only your heart.



  1. Holy synchronicity is right! Thank you for this lovely post. Sometimes I forget to fly.

  2. What a beautiful picture! And a beautiful post, too...

  3. Beautiful image, Irene! Loved this post.

  4. What a great line from Jandy Nelson. That book has been on my must-read list so long, and it just moved up to the top. Thanks for posting this.